What is Claustrophobia?
Claustrophobia is a particular type of anxiety and panic. The dictionary definition of claustrophobia is “an abnormal fear of being closed in or of being in a confined space”.
Claustrophobia is really about you feeling trapped or unable to escape
In fact, claustrophobia is a form of anxiety. But it’s not always a fear of enclosed spaces, as you might think. It’s the “closed in ” part which frightens you if you suffer claustrophobia. So it might mean that you have a fear of crowds or of being trapped or restricted.
It can be a phobia about not being able to escape or not being in control. Many people’s fear of flying is really a more general phobia about feeling trapped and not in control. Often it’s about not being able to see a way out, an exit.
Claustrophobia and Travel
Other forms of transport can also bring on the symptoms of panic. Claustrophobia can cause actual physical symptoms, and often causes panic attacks. If you have social anxiety, the fear of panicking in front of others can cause further anxiety, embarrassment and self-consciousness.
The idea of being closed in can often affect you in large, open spaces. This might seem odd! But football matches, cinemas, or festival crowds can affect you if you have claustrophobia. Perhaps you find it’s bad when you’re in a queue or traffic jam. It’s the idea you can’t easily move about that’s the problem. Or that you can’t find the exit.
When can Claustrophobia occur?
- When flying
- In Crowds
- MRI scanners
- at the dentist
- Rooms with no windows
- Cinemas and theatres
- Supermarkets and shops
Claustrophobia frequently occurs in large spaces where it’s difficult to find your way out, such as IKEA, shopping centres, or in a supermarket queue. It can happen when you are having to wait, when you are stuck in traffic, or when you can’t find a toilet. You may also feel claustrophobic in crowds, at a concert, a club or restaurant. Some people panic when wearing a crash helmet, or restrictive clothing. This can even be socks or a polo neck that is too tight.
Causes of Claustrophobia
Usually, it’s not one specific thing that causes claustrophobia. It can, sometimes, be caused by having a traumatic event in your past or in childhood. This might be being locked in a toilet, or separated from your parents, or stuck in a queue of traffic when you felt sick or needed the loo. But most phobias aren’t caused by one specific past event.
Some phobias are caused because you’ve learnt to feel fear in a specific situation. For example when you travelled in a car, perhaps your mum or dad got panicky and anxious when you were stopped, so you learnt that having to wait in traffic was something to fear. You brain remembers that you’ve felt panic and anxiety before, and so you panic when you are next in that situation.
For most people, there’s no specific incident which triggered the phobia. But if you generally feel anxious, stressed or worried, then this makes you to want to control your environment. Controlling things makes you feel better – as if you can stop things from going wrong. When you’re not in control– because you feel as if you’re trapped, or can’t get out – then you feel anxious in those situations. It’s a vicious circle!
How does Claustrophobia affect me?
If you have claustrophobia you’ll find it hard to relax or feel comfortable when you are in situations where you feel trapped or restricted. How much this effects you can range from mild inconvenience to complete inability to do what you want. Maybe you always have to walk up the stairs because you won’t take the lift, or sit only at the end of the row at the cinema, or have to refuse a lift. Or you might avoid meetings at work because you can’t easily just walk out.
Perhaps you won’t drive because you may have to stop at the lights. Or maybe you can’t do the weekly shop because you might have to queue at the till. You might refuse to travel long distances or go on the motorway because there’s nowhere to stop. Perhaps you can’t pick the children up because you may have to wait for them. Or perhaps you suffer from claustrophobia at the idea of the confined space of an MRI scan. This means that you avoid having important tests, so that you don’t have to feel the panic you associate with the scanner.
If you have claustrophobia, you probably also suffer from other phobias. You might have a phobia of lifts, a phobia of feeling sick or vomiting (emetophobia), or a phobia about germs. Or perhaps you fear strangers, or flying and other forms of transport . If you have claustrophobia you probably feel generally anxious. Claustrophobia can also lead to insomnia and social embarrassment.
Symptoms of Claustrophobia
You might experience some of the following
- Panic Attacks
- Palpitations or a racing heart
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling, or being, sick
- Stomach “flipping over”
- Diarrhoea or upset stomach
- Needing the loo
- Hypnerventilating (over-breathing)
- Clenching or grinding your teeth or jaw
- Restlessness and/or twitching
- Muscular tension
- Aching muscles, particular the neck, shoulders and back
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
Claustrophobia Treatment in Manchester
At Manchester Hypnotherapy we are specialists in all areas of anxiety and phobia. We work extensively with phobiassuch as claustrophobia. If you’d like to conquer your phobia, then hypnotherapy is an effective, safe claustrophobia cure.
Top UK Rated Hypnotherapists
Manchester Hypnotherapy are the top independently rated hypnotherapists in the UK. They have held this position since 2008. They’re highly regarded, experienced therapists based in Didsbury, south Manchester.
All our therapists are fully qualified, registered and insured. They are expert in treating fear of flying, anxiety, panic, and insomnia. They have over 45 years experience of hypnotherapy, relaxation techniques and teaching self hypnosis.
If you are looking for claustrophobia treatment in Manchester, for hypnotherapy in Hale, Didsbury, Chorlton, Altrincham or Bowdon, or want to find a hypnotherapist in south Manchester to cure claustrophobia, help stress and anxiety, emotional problems such as insecurity, tinnitus or to build confidence, then give us a call. You can check any of the websites (all are independent and individually verify each review) which list and give reviews of hypnotherapists (for example www.freeindex.co.uk. Google also has its own reviews) and you will see the excellent results which Manchester Hypnotherapy have achieved.
If you would like further information about hypnosis in Manchester, for insomnia-sleep-difficulties and other sleeping difficulties, confidence and self esteem, forphobia treatment (we specialise in phobias such as fear of needles), depression, for help with weight loss, to break bad habits, or for any other problem, please call us on 07779 575 816 for a free, completely confidential discussion.
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy in Didsbury, Chorlton, Hale, Altrincham, Bowdon, Stockport, Cheadle, Northenden, Gatley and the Heatons, and all areas of south and central Manchester.